Saturday, April 30, 2011

X Marks the Spot

The world is changing.

I grew up in small town America, where the biggest thing to happen was the rare occasions the cows escaped the various fences and trucked it down the road. Wait, I stand corrected …

The most controversial event to occur during my stay in my small hometown was the time, junior year, my friends and I snuck a couple Smirnoff Ice bottles out, poured them into to-go cups, and stopped at the only gas station in a 20 mile radius for orange juice. The gas station attendant recognized us, go figure, and called the cops because she could “sense we were up to something.”

We rode around with the top down on my friend’s car, and when we pulled out of the country club neighborhood a cop was waiting for us. He pulled us over in one of two grocery stores in town. Blue lights- convertible top down – and four girls the whole town knew. I vaguely remember it being the summertime, but there must have been some sort of natural disaster warning because as it happened, every single person my mother knew and talked to just happened to be grocery shopping that particular evening. Imagine that.

Needless to say, when the cop discovered our Smirnoff Ice bottles, opened and poured them out onto the pavement, he did so in front of nearly the entire town of Pilot Mountain. … And before I got home, my mother was well aware of my antics.

Small towns mean whatever you do - you’re going to get caught. And while this doesn’t stop the majority of people in them from acting out, this was more than likely the worst thing I ever did … in high school.

Why am I writing about this painful high school memory? Or better question, what invited this memory of mine to resurface? Let me explain. I am, as usual, sitting in McAlister’s Deli. Now, if I’m not here I’m usually posted up in a coffee shop or a bookstore, but today I was hungry. So here I am, and yes I have been here for going on 3 hours writing another paper for class. I’m here so often, the guy who works here sat down across from me and asked me how that “Roland Barthes Thesis Paper” was going. I don’t have to tell you that they know me by name, and I don’t even have to order anymore.

I arrived today in the aftermath of the lunch crowd, and now I’m in the crosshairs of one dinner rush. For the most part I’ve been here in solitude, writing and reading away as I like it to be. But just now a family sat down in front of me. As a larger family they pulled together two tables and from where I’m sitting I can see all of them over the top of my laptop screen. This family includes: mom, dad, two brothers, two sisters, and what appears to be one female friend or girlfriend.

They are a sweet little family, and when they sat down I had the reoccurring pang of sadness; makes me miss my own large family. I love that it’s Saturday night and this family has chosen to make time to have dinner with each other, who does that anymore? I don’t – that’s for sure. My parents and baby sister may be a couple hours away and my brother even further, but my other sister lives right here in Charlotte and we never make time for each other. This needs to change.

But as I’m sitting here thinking about this I noticed the one daughter and friend huddled together at the corner of the table donning the infamous black X’s on their hands.

Now, don’t ask me why but this shocked me. Maybe because my high school years were spent in the middle of nowhere – or at least a long way away from places that enforce the black X’s on the hand. I remember those days like they were yesterday, those stupid black X’s that I had to scrub like no other the morning after being branded. But this is odd to me for two reasons …

1. Those days were definitely after I moved out of my parent’s house and away for college, and …
2. I always wanted those marks off immediately.

So I’m sitting behind this cute little family and I’m thinking, come on Mom – Dad do you guys know what those X’s mean? Your pretty little girls were hanging around some place that serves alcohol last night? Did they possibly drink? Or worse were older guys hitting on them?

I don’t know why this shocks me like it does, but for some reason I just don’t feel the black X and the family dinners mesh well together. But why do I care? It’s not like I didn’t play the Black X game, or carry Chap Stick on me at all times in case I needed to try to clean those X’s right off. And maybe, just maybe they were just at a concert last night. Maybe Mom and Dad were with them? Who knows, but what I do know is I must be getting older.

I think about my own baby sister, about to embark on her college years. And it scares the hell out of me. So Julie, if you’re reading please come somewhere in the Charlotte vicinity. Again, for two reasons …

1. I want you near me, I miss you. And …
2. I want to keep an eye on you

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

I am Monster Girlfriend – Hear me roar!

Last week, after a rather long and stressful day, I was feeling overwhelmed by my lengthy to-do list.

In need of a motivational kick to get my ass in gear, I took one look at my cluttered workspace and the thing needed most was suddenly clear: another desk.

IKEA was calling my name ...

One phone call to my boyfriend, Ben, and he was game for my IKEA adventure … notice I said ‘game,’ not excited. But pretty soon my helpful boyfriend was running late, taking his time and just “about to hop in the shower,” so I assured him I’d be more than happy to go it alone.

Moments later, I received this text: “Be there in 10”

Guess my transformation to Monster Girlfriend was heard loud and clear.

Now I don’t have a domestic bone in my body, but once we’ve landed at IKEA – I’m June Cleaver. I’m running from kitchens to bathrooms; and everything in between. And on the lower level, I’m a force to be reckoned with. Everything I see, I’ve gotta have: wastebaskets, magazine rack, pencil holders, desk organizer, vintage desk lamps … and the list continues. Ben insists he carries it all, more than likely out of pure fear post my more recent monstrous episode. At one point I literally look back and he’s so buried underneath my newfound “must- haves” that all I can see is the very tip of his baseball cap. What a team player.

Now he’s steering the fully-loaded moving cart while I direct him to the appropriate Self-Service aisle. And soon, car loaded and unloaded again (Ben’s doing) we are home, and the desk put together. I’ll give you one guess as to who made that happen.

But in the midst of an IKEA aftermath, I couldn’t help but think - what exactly did I do before relationship status?

And then, IKEA: the homeowner’s heaven or the single girl’s hell?

I’m reminded of my boss’ adventure to IKEA months ago. Boss was looking to purchase one large desk for another office. Heading to IKEA solo, she browsed the selection before she found the one. Jotted it down, and made moves to the Self-Service section, which for the record is the equivalent of a Toys R Us when we were just kids. My boss, coming in on the shorter side, finally made her way to the desk’s location – and once here; found herself in the crosshairs of one unfortunate dilemma.

The desk was on the very top shelf, and my tiny boss was shit out of luck. After countless attempts to reach it, a few steps back to analyze the situation, and a few choice words she made her way to the first guy donning IKEA attire.

Boss- “How does this delivery thing work?”
IKEA- “We’d be happy to deliver whatever you need, if you’ll just roll it down to us we’ll load it and deliver it wherever”
Boss- “So, even if I pay to have you guys deliver this desk to me, I still have to drag it down off the shelves, load it onto one of those rolling carts, and roll it to you? And then, you’ll deliver it to me?
IKEA- “Yes Mam”
Boss- “You’ve got to be kidding me.”
IKEA- “I’m sorry?”

Confused IKEA guy attempts to decipher this conversation thus far

Boss- “This place is anti- the single woman!”
IKEA- “I’m sorry?”
Boss- “If I had a boyfriend he could pull my desk down off the shelf, he could load it onto one of these carts, and HE could deliver for me. Isn’t that correct?"
IKEA- “I suppose so”
Boss- “Exactly, so what is the point?”

After a second of silence …

IKEA- “Is your name Brittney?”

Fast-forward to my IKEA adventure; could I have loaded and moved that desk all by myself? And even if I had, there’s a pretty good chance the building process would still be pending. But as I sit here, writing at my new desk, I have to admit having a boyfriend is clutch for such endeavors.

So axe flowers, candy, and even furry friends; as it happens, the way to this girl’s heart: manual labor.


Monday, April 25, 2011

... A Girl's Best Friend

Sometimes a good guy is hard to find.

For me, a guy doesn’t need to worship the ground I walk on; and his transportation need not be a white horse. Instead the only thing I really need, when it comes to finding love, is a guy who loves me exactly the way that I am. This is to say a guy who doesn’t mind all my little quirks, or my more peculiar routines. After all, the only thing a girl really wants is a guy to accept and adore her for even the silliest of her exploits.

This on the table - let me introduce to you my (other) little sister, Jess. Now Jess is a beautiful, entertaining ball of sunshine. Those of you who know my family know we’re a goofy bunch; and Jess – no exception. Nearly all my guy friends are intrigued when they either meet her or see photographs of Jess. Her whimsical personality does seem to be contagious, and when guys want to get to know this little sister of mine, well … they’re going to have to get through more than my approval alone.

In fact, any guy who becomes part of Jess’ life is just going to have to share her. And with whom are they sharing her with?

Meet Squeaky:

Eighteen years ago this little guy was dropped into a young Jess’ arms, and the rest was history. And if you’re a guy who wants to share a bed with Jess – you’re going have to share a bed with one very purple prehistoric friend. However, it’s not just this little chap you have to worry about. There have been numerous Squeakys over the years. Guys, how would you like to wake up to this every morning?

… All those eyes staring back at you. But to the guys who think this little quirk would have you running for the hills – I’ve got news for you.

Almost every girl has a Squeaky.

Now I’m not saying that we all cuddle up next to purple dinosaurs that squeak every night, but we females are a sentimental species. And for the record, every last one of my ex-boyfriends has also had their own version of Squeaky. Only while they bury these furry creatures in their closets, us girls utilize them as enchanting bedside pillows. What can I say? We are female, hear us roar! And our furry sidekicks just kinda come with the package

Ladies and Gentleman meet Exhibit A: Phylis

I first saw this green ball of fur at age ten – and it was love.

And this Phylis, one of many, just sort of means the world to me. When I meet a guy, who isn’t quite as easy to convert to a Phillies fan as my former Neglected Ex was, he’s still gonna have to share a bed with Phylis. And a backseat on road trips, because yes – Phylis comes along.

And just like Jess, Phylis isn’t alone. Meet Exhibit B:

Every ex boyfriend of mine reading this is saying…. “ahhh Snowey”

Snowey has been with me for eighteen years, just like Squeaky has been with Jess. Many ex’s have grown to love him, a few tried to steal him – proving that even guys have sentimental traces.

We’ve heard our whole lives that diamonds are a girl’s best friend. Ok, sure … but our stuffed animals came first; and making us happy means accepting us and our idiosyncratic connections to the fuzzy emblems of our childhood. If you want to make us even happier - bypass the flowers and the candy. Surprise us with a furry friend. But be prepared- there is a good chance you may be snuggling up to our newfound companion soon after.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Hopeful Mentality Seeks Romance: Amusement Results

I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried.

A little over a month ago I introduced the world to my dear friend, Hopeful Mentality. If you’re not familiar, I’ll recap. This upbeat friend of mine has one vivacious personality, and some rather hysterical stories. In our last meeting with this character she was testing the waters of a new love interest, met at the gas station after one too many sips of Rich and Rare.

See what I mean.

When this Cornrow Creeper got handsy, my friend hit the ground running … and wouldn’t you? I love this girl from the very bottom of my heart, and the various antics and epic tales that constitute her life are priceless. It is utterly fantastic to listen to these adventures, I can’t get enough. So when she shared this little anecdote with me, let’s just say I was taking notes. Allow me to paint the picture:

Roughly one year ago HM and a friend ventured to CiCi’s Pizza in Matthews for a lunch time snack. As usual, HM was dressed to impress and it didn’t take her long before she locked eyes with an attractive gentleman across the dining room. No conversation was exchanged, no swapping of contact information, or even general information, took place. At the end of this day time meal, HM left the building without so much as learning this guy’s name.

But this is Hopeful Mentality we’re talking about, and she’s nothing if not resourceful.

Later that exact evening, she headed out for a night uptown at Suite with another friend. Bar side inside Suite, HM glances around and makes eye contact with the very same gentleman from CiCi’s earlier that day. Naturally this twice random occurrence is enough to force this guy’s hand. It was a coincidence unlike any other; a connection was begging to be made.

So the segregation: breached, conversation: made, and the two seemed to really hit it off. This very attractive and interesting boy bought our lady friend shot after shot. Soon HM, armed with one good girlfriend, was even more intrigued to know more about this white knight. And by the time last call was announced, she was already posted up in his passenger seat and ready to ride.

On a side note, this isn’t a course of action HM would typically take - but come on. Twice in one day? At two separate locations? Someone was trying to tell our friend something, and she was itching to find out exactly what that something was. Also, for the purpose of this blog we’ll have to give the guy in the spotlight a nickname. It is only fair. And so hence forth we’ll call this gentlemen friend of ours, Skeeter.

Don’t ask.

The scene has now shifted, and currently HM is continuing the festivities only in the home of Skeeter as opposed to the bar; and the uptown crowd has now been replaced by one girlfriend and a couple other guys. All friends of Skeeter, no doubt, but a long night ensues and soon HM finds herself ready to trade boozing for some snoozing.

The next morning, our friend wakes up all alone. No Skeeter in sight, no guy friends, and worse yet … no girlfriend. In a strange home, unsure of her exact location and attempting to piece together her perimeters - HM began to explore. It is this point when she discovers a full course breakfast prepared - a delightful surprise from one Skeeter to our friend.

He explained that at some point the girlfriend didn’t feel well, and needed to leave. So she did. This girl actually left our friend in this strange home, with these unknown characters, over night. No phone call, no nothing. Ladies, never ever do this. For a second there, HM is panicking. You would, too. But this breakfast looks pretty incredible, so she puts her pissed off notions aside … you know, at least until she’s finished her pancakes.

Skeeter then volunteers to drive her home. First breakfast, and now a lift? What a gentleman.

Wait for it.

But unfortunately the ride home required a quick stop, onto a dirt road in the middle of nowhere. HM looks confused, especially when Skeeter stops his car, turns it off and slides the key out of the ignition.

Now, if you’re a believer in God – then you may also believe that he’s got a sense of humor. And our friend Hopeful Mentality: his punch line.

Take it easy though, what we have here isn’t another “Switcharoo” incident. But nonetheless, this one is just as unorthodox. Skeeter is just looking for a little more conversation. He wanted to know more about our friend. And this is how this dialogue unfolded:

Hopeful Mentality- “So, what are we doing?”

Skeeter- “I just want to talk to you”

Hopeful Mentality- “I’m a little confused, what exactly is your agenda at the moment?”

After a long silence, and an exasperated sigh …

Skeeter- “Do you believe that there is something else out there?”

Hopeful Mentality- “huh?”

Skeeter- “Like aliens, do you believe in aliens?”

Hopeful Mentality- “Ummm, huh?”

Skeeter- “See, ever since I was younger I’ve had this reoccurring dream that I’m being attacked by aliens. I had it again, last night. I just thought it was strange, you know, that I just happened to meet you yesterday, have two chance meetings and you stayed over last night.”

Hopeful Mentality- “Rightttt”

Skeeter- “In my dream you were an alien. It was weird”

At this point, our friend notices this very odd gleam in her new guy friend’s eyes. She’s thinking, for the love of God this boy thinks I’m an alien. So she poses the question, naturally:

Hopeful Mentality- “So you think I’m an alien? Do you really think I’m an alien?”

Hopeful Mentality?

At this point Skeeter launches into some story about how he understands that a rabbit’s death foreshadows a human birth in the days to come, and recently Skeeter dreamed of a dead rabbit. Low and behold if he didn’t wake up that next morning to discover the news – his sister was pregnant. You have got to be kidding me.

In pure shock, the wheels in our friend’s mind are turning. She’s thinking: this guy really thinks I’m an extraterrestrial.

So this Skeeter guy pulls my friend out on this secluded dirt road to get to the bottom of his space invader theory? Was he trying to separate her from the rest of the pack? Seek out the weakest link? A better question: and then what?

And after a little more awkward conversation, HM admits that this conversation is a little too unconventional for her. She requests he take her home. So he does, and the ride home – you guessed it, silent.

And although communication didn’t end here, HM has hung up her hopes to ever forego an intimate connection with Skeeter. And what a shame, too; at the time all she knew - this beautiful man she ran into a CiCi’s Pizza in the small town of Matthews, NC, was a little too bizarre for her. The moral of this story: looks can be deceiving.

And also, meeting people at CiCi’s Pizza is out, and almost as lethal as the infamous gas station meeting.

On a last note, maybe we should change Hopeful Mentality’s name to CiCi’s girl … since that it he name Skeeter’s friends have referred to her as for the last year. And even though he really missed a great opportunity with a great girl, I would like to wish him luck in his future endeavors; both with the ladies, and future UFO spottings.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

"life is short"

I live my life by the book, or well … by my planner.

And today I’m sitting at Panera Bread in the University in between a work meeting and my evening class with a good friend of mine. This is what I do almost every Tuesday. On Monday, I’m more than likely at McAlister’s Deli at the University; but Tuesday … oh Tuesday, a much better day than Monday for many reasons. Add the Black Bean soup at Panera to that list.

I try to utilize my time in the University area by visiting with my friends that still live there, like my little sister who I bummed around with yesterday. Today I’m enjoying this fantastic soup with the company of a former roommate. Former roommate still lives in the area, and the opportunity to see each other doesn’t come around often.

So here we sit, at a small square table in Panera conversing about life, as old friends typically do. In the midst of my gloating session, referencing my up-coming Mother-Daughter Weekend trip to Florida with my mom and sister, we began discussing the summer months, rapidly approaching.

I tell her I went bathing suit shopping in preparation for my trip, and to my utter disappointment found absolutely nothing I liked. She concurred saying she wasn’t even going to filter through racks of swim suits until she lost at least 20 lbs.

The guy, one table over, raises his eyebrows. I catch this guy’s smirk, affirming he’s thinking exactly what I am, or more appropriately what I’m always thinking with this particular friend.

Oh yeah? And where exactly are you planning on losing said pounds?

My current lunch-time company is even smaller in size than I am. Only she doesn’t see it that way. Its mind blowing that she looks in the mirror and sees herself as anything but slim; she’s absolutely gorgeous, too. Girls

The lady behind me is eating a bear claw.

And it looks phenomenal.

My former weight conscious friend has now transformed into one hungry hippo.

But when she wipes the drool off the side of her face she launches into the reasons why she can’t consume such a delicious treat. Reason 1: she’s already SO fat – Reason 2: she doesn’t fit into any of her clothes – Reason 3: she doesn’t have time to make it to the gym today – Reason 4 …

Well, you get the idea.

Even me, the friend who loves you no matter what, is annoyed but I smile and play along …

“You’re the smallest girl I know.” Which is true

But my reassuring is to no avail. She’s still bitching about her weight, and I’m making a mental note to NEVER again say to boyfriend: “I’m having a fat day.” And she’s still going on about this freaking bear claw. I’m about thirty seconds away from getting myself a bear claw and eating it in front of her. What? I have no shame.

Out of the corner of my eye I see this guy, one table over, stand and pack his things into his shoulder bag, and walk away. Meanwhile my friend is still on the weight kick, telling me that she doesn’t care what I say- if she eats only once a day she’ll lose weight. Come on, now.

I see the same guy walking towards us, and my thought: what in the world …

He stops beside my slender friend and extends his hand out to her, which holds one large, messy bear claw.

My friend sits in pure shock. Guy continues to stand beside her, and my eyes are darting back and forth between these two people sitting across from me; one a good friend- the other a complete stranger. At first I think she believes he’s hitting on her, but he’s wearing a ring yes, I notice these things. Still sitting in disbelief she says something to the affect of ‘thanks, but no thanks.’ Guy doesn’t budge.

So she reaches up, takes hold of this tasty dessert, and mutters a sound I’m going to assume is the equivalent of a thank you. Guy smiles down at her, glances at me, and then says:

life is short

…turns and walks away.

Leaving my stunned friend and I sitting at this small square table in the University location of Charlotte, NC. Who was the giver of this delectable treat? What white horse did he ride up on? Who knows, but you know something, he’s right. And I’ll remember that as I finish off this red velvet cream cheese icing cupcake.

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Working Stiffs

I spread myself too thin.

Luckily, I’ve got this whole multi-tasking thing down to an art. This morning at my day job, aside from actual job duties, I managed to: write the conclusion to my Literary Theory essay-edit it-submit it, read the 10 crucial pages I needed most and made notes for our final paper, order ANOTHER book on Amazon for my Juvenile Literature class, read the Derrida essays for tonight’s class, and write this blog.

And while I’m donning an apron 3-4 times a week at my serving job it’s usually packed with at least one book and one small notebook. But yesterday, while huddled under the heat lamp before we opened reading a few chapters I had a thought, or more a touch of self-examination.

I’m killing myself- working 7 days a week- so why?

The utter truth, I could axe one of my jobs and stay afloat easily. Bills paid, fun times had, even my book buying habits satisfied. So what is it that keeps me locked into all these jobs and makes me… well, not the most delightful person to be around. I questioned, am I maintaining this multiple job lifestyle out of sheer fear? Have I had more than one job for so long, that I just can’t fathom my life without a stacked schedule? And so I took it back, way back - all the way to age 15…

First job: grocery store

I was saving for a cell phone, I’ll never forget it. The brick of a phone my dad presented me with at age 14 wasn’t cutting it- even then. I would print blank receipts at work and calculate the amount of hours for that week multiplied by my hourly wage ($5.50 yikes), and then subtract the taxes- which at that moment I knew precisely how to compute…just so I could know exactly what my paycheck would bring, and coincidently how far it would carry me.

My bedroom dresser was flooded with these receipts where I not only gauged paycheck income, but the money my parents gave me each week. All across these tiny slips of crumbled up white paper I had little – marks to show where I was spending my money; balancing the check book at an early age.

At 16, I was now saving for gas and my two-job way of life began. I was working at my neighborhood pool by day, serving tables by night. And the pure amount of money I made serving tables was riveting. So much in fact, at the age of 23 armed with a college degree, I’m still hanging on in the service industry...for dear life.

So now what’s my excuse? I started thinking if at 15 I was saving for a phone, at 16-gas money, at 17- money for college, at 18-rent, at 19-a car, at 20 & 21-the bar tab, and at 22-another car…

What am I saving for at age 23? Or how about you, what are you saving for at this very moment? It is no secret we’ve all got bills, and you work ultimately so you can pay them and live comfortably, but what else? Behind every single one of us is a driving force that keeps us going. For some it may be one particular person, or a dream; some of us are saving for a vacation or a goal- and some may just be saving for a rainy day.

But the thought was so prevalent in my mind, that I thought I’d ask around. So I did, I posed the question:

Everyone works- bills and what not, but what is the one thing you’re saving for right now?

And this is what I got:

My girlfriends… have a few reoccurring themes:

“A whole new summer wardrobe, including a Victoria Secret bathing suit”

“A wedding, and also so I can quit bartending and get pregnant!”

“For our first home together, and for our anniversary next year”

“A house, and a baby:) I’m such an old lady!”

“The first year anniversary of our wedding is coming up; I’m saving for the present”

“A big screen TV”

“India” (I LOVE THIS ONE- I’m so jealous)

“I’m saving money for freedom, independence, and sanity.”

“Saving for our wedding stuff and also my future children”

“Retirement (long term savings) & Vacation (short term savings)

And my siblings… we are so freaking different:

“Honestly at the moment: Thirsty Thursday (maybe we’re not that different) at this week’s tourists game, flowers for the girlfriend’s final game, beach trip, and Mother’s Day”

“My wedding and emergency if my princess (Katie, the cat) needs surgery because she’s so sick”

“Senior week and a tattoo” Mom and Dad will LOVE that

A few others…

"I’d like to put a down payment on a house eventually but I’d just like to get up a little bit, so if something does come up I can take care of it”

“Currently I’m saving for renovations on my house. Starting some demolition tomorrow actually”

“My divorce”

“I’m trying to hire Dr. Kevorkian” Yeah, I live with this guy…

“Preparing to potentially start a business”

“I’m saving to pay off my tuition loans”

“My own house and a new car”

“An engagement ring” (2 guys said this...I’m utterly elated!)

As for me, I’m saving for everything under the sun, but at the moment… A MacBook! I’m ready to say goodbye to the PC.

So in synopsis the driving force for most of us varies. That is, of course, unless you’re one of my girlfriends and your biological clock is ticking away. Which is perfect, I’ll live vicariously through you guys- deal?

Work is the given in life, you work until it pays off- but typically the payoff is ever so sweet. So when I start to get bummed about the work load I’ve taken on I’ll keep in mind all the working stiffs I’ve come to call my friends, all slaving away in their various fields for the greater good. In the words of one wise guy friend of mine:
“I work all week for the weekend, and all year for the vacation.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Isolation Method

Sometimes people still surprise me, in a good way.

As I was getting off the elevator to leave work today I was digging in my oversized purse for one item: George Batailles’ Story of the Eye. On a side note, if you’re familiar with the book- don’t judge me.

I was handing it off to a guy friend of mine from class, who is writing his final paper on themes inside various Batailles texts, and since I have recently become the library for all things Post-Structuralism, I’m letting him check one out. I half expected him to meet me at my office upstairs, or to be on the first level of my building when I stepped off the elevator- but the doors opened and my fellow classmate was nowhere to be found.

And back to my oversized purse, this time to dig out my phone from amongst heaps of paperwork. Luckily I ran into him on the other side of the building and handed him this rather unorthodox piece of literature. He asks if I’m parked in the West Deck, I am, and he offers to walk with me.

On our walk we converse about our final paper and the god awful Kristeva book we just read, and how we’re both desperately trying to pull something out of it in order to put pen to paper and turn in our analytical essays next week- and then never ever meet Kristeva’s notions of literary criticism again (hopefully). I should add that this classmate of mine is not only incredibly intelligent, but has saved my bewildered ass time and time again over the course of this semester.

Just when we’ve about reached my car, parked in solitude as I always find her on Friday afternoons, he mentions to me that he reads my blogs. Oh, boy. I thank him for reading (thank you, too:)) and he said sure- he enjoys them, and then he added: “It’s a good way to get to know you; I’ll go ahead and let you know I’ve had a crush on you this semester.”

Wait, you read my blog and STILL have a crush on me?

But he continued… he said “and you know, I don’t have much of a tactic about picking up girls anyway, but with you- I’m pretty nervous”

So I’m intimidating and/or scary?  If you’re a guy and you read anything I write—well, this makes more sense...

He went on to say that I seemed very sure of myself when it came to guys and relationships. I felt pretty awful there for a second, I didn’t and don’t want him or any of you to think I’m heartless. I’ve got a heart, a great big one, and a few people (every now and then ;)) catch a glimpse of it.

We carried our conversation on a little more into blogging and writing in general. I laughed when he made reference to my infamous “Sabotage Mode,” and I know for a fact he shares my agony when it comes to my Monday night blues. I was pretty excited that my go-to classmate with all the answers reads my words. And as we were about to part ways I slipped in a: you know I’ll probably write about this…

But he did, told ya he was smart ;) In fact, the name above I can’t take any credit for. Although to this point, you’re more than likely confused about how that title has anything to do with this blog.

Allow me to explain…

“Isolation Method” is the term coined by my fellow classmate to refer to his actual technique of talking to me today. As I had suspected he had reached my building before I left work, and had even thought of walking in and heading up, but he didn’t. Want to know why?

Because he imagined if he came up to my office I, along with my co-workers, would be scrambling around trying to leave and in the midst of Friday afternoon madness there wouldn’t be any chance for he and I to talk. He was right, the end of the work day every Friday might as well be the first day of a co-ed’s Spring Break.

So he waited around outside, and when I emerged from the building he offered to walk me to my car, just the two of us - isolation.

And as he's divulging these thoughts of his to me, I'm thinking I'm pretty impressed by this guy, even more than I already was (Did I mention I would kill to comprehend Lit Theory an ounce of the way he does?) He wasn’t trying to “pick me up,” as he put it, he was just being friendly. And even though he already knew my relationship status, and wasn’t trying to disrupt it- he just wanted to have a conversation with me about something other than “how many pages have you finished on your paper?” Or answer anymore of my literary theory questions like: “what the hell is Blanchot talking about??”

And also, I found his strategy to start the conversation with me charming, and frankly…relieving

As it happens, girls- we aren’t the only ones thinking all the possible factors in our minds before we approach a guy or a situation with a guy. Turns out, guys get just as nervous as we do. I had forgotten this because I live with Jared Allan, who never seems to feel shy. That is a true story. As I write this he’s in the other room serenading me with something to the tune of: “Jordan’s sad that life isn’t fair, and I’m dancing around in my underwear…”

So my classmate was/is a breath of fresh air, not that you’re not Jared. Between you and Best Friend, who needs entertainment like Comedy Central or youtube?

So if you’re thinking about a guy, or turning over possible outcomes or episodes in your mind, or even rehashing a past experience…don’t worry your pretty little head about it. Turns out, if you’re over analyzing something (I’m the Queen of said action) chances are you’re not alone. And if in this particular situation you are alone, then move on up- find someone who will get just as excited/nervous about you.

There are a few good ones left out there, and my fellow classmate is your proof.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

"All's Fair in Love and War"

Six months ago Karen Owen stunned our society when she boldly exposed the gentlemen company she kept in college- and got no love in return.

What once began as an inside joke, meant only for the eyes of a few friends, quickly escalated into a very public and humiliating episode. And the vehicle for this showcase of sexual partners: a PowerPoint presentation.

In the aftermath of this ill-fated limelight, the world blasted Owen wide open. As for me, I’m going to have to side with New York Times Best Selling Author, Tucker Max, who said everyone should just lay off. When Owen composed these PowerPoint slides as a mock thesis, she wasn’t aiming for a moment in the spotlight. And where is she now? Has anyone heard from her? Did she make any comments regarding the publicity or the rather embarrassing episode?

The answer to these questions: No.

Owen didn’t ask for this, she simply did what all of us girls do - compare notes. We divulge our embarrassingly painful relationship and sexual encounters to our friends looking for everything from support and laughter to a good hard cry. What would you do if your friends publically revealed your experiences with the opposite sex? Well, you sure as hell would seek out better friends; but come on, give the girl a break.

So I created my own list, my readers know because I posted a little preview roughly 3 weeks ago. In trying to stay as true to Owen’s formula as I possibly could I have written mine in a similar PowerPoint fashion, bullet points and all. While this will ultimately launch on Creative Loafing’s website under the Love, Brittney blog there are a few guys that didn’t quite make the cut – but I wouldn’t want to leave them out.

You see, where my list differs from Owen’s is in the content. My “Date List” is Karen Owen’s story re-done sans sex scandal and body fluids -- because who are we kidding, sex is the given. It’s the game of relationships that makes or breaks you. And so, this is the story of a college graduate who dated an assortment of guys. The lessons and experiences have been documented, naturally. Below is a sneak peak at three ex-boyfriends who didn’t make their way into the final cut, just when they thought they were off the hook… Meet:

The Pretty Boy

Subject 3: The Pretty Boy

• The Meeting: I became friends with an awesome group of people during sophomore year and we managed to stay pretty close. One of them had a lot of visiting friends from her hometown and when they came-it was by the dozen. One reoccurring visitor I took a liking to, and the feeling was mutual. Equipped with big blue eyes, one incredible chest, and one shaggy-Hollister haircut -hey, it was cool back then, meet “The Pretty Boy.”

• Memorable Moments: He did take me on my first skiing adventure, no wait…wrong guy. Yeah…I’ve got nothing.

• Pros: Did I mention he was pretty?

• Cons: This guy should really thank his parents for their good genes because what this “Pretty Boy” packed in his appearance he lacked in mind. There was no stimulating conversation, no talk about books or films, in fact as I sit here and try to remember what it was we did talk about I remember conversations like “I was thinking I would dye my hair black? What do you think?” My favorite instance: “Pretty Boy” picks up Abercrombie and Fitch bag donning shirtless guy and asks “I’m better looking than this guy...right?” This weight-lifting, mirror-carrying guy was your Jersey Shore, sans hair gel. His day to day was totally the GTL mentality; and he was very serious about the Abercrombie bag aspirations. We’ve all heard stories of people like Brooklyn Decker who were just walking through the mall when suddenly discovered, right? Well, “The Pretty Boy,” believed this so fiercely that you could find him walking through the store for more than hour long sessions multiple times a week in hopes of catching someone’s eye. And who do you think had to pick up the pieces after failed attempts of browsing the mall/model go-sees? His unappreciated girlfriend, that’s who.

• Raw Score: 4/10. Oh, and yes he did dye his hair black.

The Bartender

Subject 2: The Bartender

• The Meeting: The service industry-where the job description includes: late nights, dealing with drunken people, and cleaning up after them. One good thing came from it all; I met “The Bartender.” Not your standard attractive bartender either, but what this guy lacked in glamour he made up for in personality. Of course he did, it was his job to shamelessly flirt with girls- and the guy was good at what he did. Nine years my elder, I waited for my shifts to end just so I could take a seat at his bar. I attempted to disguise my crush with the “I’m freshly twenty-one and want to stay bar-side…no, really” mentality. When found out-my school girl crush became ego-boost central for this guy. Thus began our three week relationship…

• Memorable Moments: Many nights of coercing my friends to join me at the bar and beaming with pride when he poured us shots on the house. Our first kiss came while he serenaded me with songs from the jukebox, exceptionally loud and off key. Who says romance is dead?

• Pros: Free liquor and free beer-whats not to love? True to bartender form, he was a blast. I never stopped laughing.

• Cons: Who was I kidding? It was doomed from the get-go. If the age difference didn’t squash it right away, he was still the bartender who used his charm to pay the bills. The sheer amount of money I spent tipping this guy would make you sick to your stomach. True Story. I’m kinda queasy right now thinking about it. He was also a sloppy kisser, and may have had a drinking problem. Go figure.

• Raw Score: 4/10. My friends are quite thankful for “The Bartender” weeks, the constant ridicule and the low blows-they never get old.

The Comedian

Subject 1: The Comedian

• The Meeting: When I’m not huddled in the back seat of a classroom or buried under paperwork at my day job you can always find me living the dream: as a server. I’ll pause for comedic effect. But for what it’s worth, the serving world has introduced me to plenty of interesting people. Add “The Comedian” to that list. I wish I could tell that our meeting was unique, but that wasn’t the case. This guy did what so many had done before him. He waited for the opportune moment to strike: when singled out, I was rolling silverware. If you’ve ever worked in the service industry you know the tedious task of rolling silverware all too well, but this guy slid to my right, requested a handful of knives-forks-napkins and started to roll. Charming? Try déjà vu.

• Memorable Moments: Soon after our utensil-rolling first encounter I learned that this guy was a comedian. A full-blown stand-up comic, fearless of the spotlight and writer of his own material. As a writer myself, I can not only appreciate that, I can respect it. Our memorable moments came in the form of comedy shows where I could watch this guy plus a variety of other stand-up displays.

• Pros: Obvious answer - he was hysterical.

• Cons: There was a good reason this guy has resorted to humor his entire life. Of course not all comedians can be as adorable as Daniel Tosh or Dane Cook, if that were the case comedy shows could be the new gym for single women. This pale, freckled red-head was rooted in one big lack of self-esteem, and his comedy thrived inside self-deprecation. Not only was his routine, which by now I had heard around 30+ times, so self-loathing it was uncomfortable to watch, but this guy played every vulgar card in the book. It was painful to witness. For every joke this guy made regarding his constant masturbation habits, I had the satisfying visual of punting him off stage.

• Raw Score: 5/10. After all, laughter is the way to my heart.

Monday, April 11, 2011

"Wait, does it count if she's a Step-Sister?"

I go to the internet for literally everything.

Web MD has been my go-to physician for the last several years, I buy the majority of my clothing and accessories online, handle all traveling and reservations via the World Wide Web and I check my e-mail so many times a day that my friends and family no longer contact me by phone. Think about it, in an era where you no longer need to pick up the phone to make reservations at a popular restaurant because the website is now the vehicle for such planning and dating websites are connecting people from all over—who needs those bona fide social skills?

The internet is the platform for your networking, your communication; hell, even your education—which brings me to my current status: work. Each day at work, among other things, I venture to the Yahoo! homepage and initiate a quick scan of the many headlines of the day. When one strikes my attention I pull it up and do a little desk job reading. These vary from food and exercise to sports, but as the internet has become my obsession, these Yahoo! articles are my fixation. But today, in the midst of piece reading, Yahoo! scared me a bit.

One of the articles, “How birth order affects your love life,” caught my attention naturally. The write-up elaborated on, and explored the theories of Dr. Kevin Leman’s book The Birth Order Book. After making a note to seek this piece of literature out the next time I’m bumming around Barnes and Noble, I began to examine Dr. Leman’s notions as the writer of this Yahoo! editorial portrayed them. As the oldest of four, and as you would expect, I was interested in learning about what this Ph.D. believed were the true characteristics of my position in birth order. As it happens, as the oldest child in my family typically I am:

“A take-charge person, so not the type to drive friends and romantic partners crazy asking questions like, “I dunno where we should eat; where do you want to go?” Instead, you’ll make sure you have reservations — and land a prime table, too. And anyone lucky enough to pair up with you won’t spend weeknights wondering whether he or she has Saturday night plans, because “oldest kids are planners,” says Dr. Leman. You’re also old-fashioned (in a good way). You always come through on anniversaries and Valentine’s Day.”

So bossy, well-prepared, and conventional—so far Dr. Leman, you’re spot on. In fact I’m a little apprehensive about how well you seem to know me. And my “love challenge?”

“Being more spontaneous. First-borns aren’t the “seize the day” sort (you’re not one to text your sweetie to suggest meeting at this fun café you just walked past). Likewise, “you hate surprises,” Dr. Leman warns. Pity the fool who springs meeting the parents on you or when you thought it was just the two of you going out tonight!”

Go figure. I do HATE surprises, and my idea of spontaneous is adding a shot of vanilla vodka to my Guinness- delicious by the way. Accurate depictions thus far, color me impressed. And finally, meet my best match:

“The youngest child. “It’s a case of opposites attracting,” says Dr. Leman. “You help the last-born be more organized, and the last-born helps you lighten up.”

You had me… until now.

Sure, I believe in the whole opposites attract theory- it seems to be working just fine for me, but why’s it gotta be intertwined with the birth order? Better question- how can you absolutely-positively-be 100% certain that the youngest child in a family will always be spontaneous or “the least financially dependable?” Sure it’s just a theory, or an idea, but for a second there you had me going wait a minute…I did date the youngest child, and it didn’t work out quite as harmonious as you would think. In fact, while sitting here at work I made a list of the boys I’ve been romantically connected with who were the youngest in their families. Two words came to mind, epic failure.

Then I kicked myself for getting so caught up in the idea that a love life could be determined or predicted at all by outside forces. I’m worse than the girls who religiously read their horoscopes and believe in fortune telling. I don’t think I’ve ever started my relationships out with:

Me-“Wait, you’re a Virgo? Yeahhhh this isn’t going to work…”

And yet, I read this whole article from start to finish brainstorming my past relationships and throwing my friends into the mix. No joke, as I sit here my mind is wavering between is the fiancé of Best Friend (oldest) the youngest in his family? Middle Child? And then, my sister and her boyfriend are both middle children… what in the world does that mean? When it hit me…

This is absurd.

Every individual is purely that, individual. There is utterly no way to predict your love life based on astrology, birth order, a magazine quiz, etc. etc. In fact the only actual way to recognize whether your relationship works or it doesn’t is simply: live it. You’ll know fairly quickly whether or not it works for you, and if you don’t hey, there is more than likely a lesson or two.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Textbooks Can't Teach Me Everything...

I never know when to walk away.

Or, for that matter, how to go about it; and if you don’t know whether or not you believe this please resort to the trail of perplexed and injured ex-boyfriends. I’m notoriously the girl who slips into “Sabotage Mode” with almost every single guy in my life, it’s just who I am. When a guy steps up to the plate with sweet sentiments and kind words, my feet are almost always itching to dash.

But every now and then, the rare guy steps into my life that stops me in my tracks. This is typically the guy who packs a mean head game; and while I detest this behavior-it usually hooks me. Sick, right? When this happens I go the polar opposite route: I hold on like hell- equally as damaging.

I’m not sure how I became this way, or why I am this way- but either I’m heading for the hills in an unjust fashion or I’m hanging on for dear life. Where is the in between? Does anyone know?

In an earlier blog I addressed my runaway dating saga; this time I want to address the other. Everyone’s been involved in a relationship they were either too afraid to let go of, or the relationship that you became so intertwined and wrapped up in that you didn’t recognize the signs:

Hey, it happens. It’s a difficult place to be, but if you’re a bleeding human being- you’ll find yourself in the threshold of this indecision. We’ve all be the victim of such torment. You know, the “my phone HAS been acting weird lately, he probably just didn’t get my text?” and the “well, he probably just doesn’t want to scare me off” state of mind? Sometimes you’ve just gotta hold your head high and walk away…

This photo is actually me, walking away. In fact, when my friend tagged me in it on Facebook she captioned it: “She’s always walking away;” which is true, for the most part… until it isn’t. There will always be that person, who despite your prayers- your pleading –and your denial, is never going to change. So, why do we stick around?

Meet (my) Best Friend…

… who works her life away. She puts everything she’s got into work, and it’s profoundly encouraging- but that is a story, a blog, for another day. You see, while she’s killing herself to take care of the people around her, there are other things circling this girl besides this “all work and no play” life she’s leading. Roughly a year and a half ago, Best Friend separated from her husband, and father of her only child. She packed up their things, and with the money in her pocket she walked away.

I’ve never told her this, but in that one single moment- I have never been more proud.

I watched her leave a life of comfort and stability behind. She didn’t know what would come next, what the future had in store; what she did know were two things. One, a loveless marriage would never be the proper environment for her growing daughter; and two, she deserved more.

People say all the time that it’s easy to walk away, and it is from the stand point of the girl who’s always on the run. But what the people aren’t saying is this: It is always easy to walk away-when you’ve got nothing to lose. It’s when you’re invested in something that walking away becomes an intricate affair. In my past, I’ve struggled to walk when I endowed feelings into someone. For Best Friend the investment: a beautiful little girl. And as it happens, the truth of the matter: it is always easier to stay.

To stay: hopeful, optimistic, expectant

To stay in hopes that one day things will change or the gray clouds will lift leaving the bright sunlight of lasting romance. To stay, for Best Friend, would have meant financial security and comfort- didn’t matter. She was a girl who knew what she was worthy of, and in turn, who was worthy of her.

Naturally, the road to her current state of bliss was a winding one. But when she walked away and looked into the distance, she could see the twists and turns of her future course. She knew the struggles to follow, but with open eyes the first steps-taken, and the storm-weathered.

I’ve said it before …life is messy. The complications along the way suck, yeah- yeah you’ve all heard it before, but what are you going to do about it? If you don’t love the hand you got dealt, demand a re-deal, and this time when the dealer hands you the deck- cut it. Control your destiny. If things in the relationship game aren’t playing out, switch to new game- new rules. … And, I’ll stop with the card game analogy.

Sometimes in life you just have to know when it’s time to walk away. The decision will never be easy, more than likely it will never be received well, but your life is yours for the making. Do with it what you will. Best Friend took her life back, and despite it all, found her way to happiness again. I couldn’t possibly be more proud.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

... Jordan Reaches Out to Friends for Love Advice

My roommate is in love.

And as a result, I come home to a clean apartment every single day. It’s magic, truly; but ever since he met this lucky lady he’s been both exceptionally energized and overly motivated. You see, Roommate and I may keep our stuff in our small two-bedroom apartment- but in reality we live our lives on the road. And the product of these two hectic lifestyles: one apartment bearing a striking resemblance to a dorm room.

I’m relatively used to coming home to take-out boxes strung on the counter, a sink full of dishes, one desk flooded in post-it notes/scraps of paper, and one coffee table drowning in books. But in these beginning stages of budding romance, naturally Roommate doesn’t want his living habits unveiled in this way- at least not right off the bat. So he’s scrubbing, he’s cleaning, he’s picking up everything I’m putting down; and this morning before I left for work he was making his bed?

So this new girl bats her pretty eyes at my love struck Roommate and suddenly, I’m living with Mr. Clean.

I haven’t even met this girl, but already- I like her. The pure exhilaration that radiates off this guy I’ve known for years is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. You should see him, always with this big goofy grin that he just can’t shake and the way his eyes light up when he mentions her; it is spectacular to witness.

There is nothing quite as captivating as those first blissful stages into a budding relationship. The enthralling state of mind you reside in upon the initial dating steps is unexplainable-and yet, most of you know exactly how it feels. And the more I thought about the idea of the start of something new, and the completely riveting feeling it stirs, the more entranced I became.

Everyone loves that initial “can’t get you outta my head” phase, but eventually the hype does always seem to fade. So, why? When does the promising romance transform into agonizing habit?

When I was younger, I was boy crazy. Imagine that. But with every boy who became my boyfriend I was completely, absolutely, and utterly certain that this was “the one.” Now I’m talking this goes back to the days when dating was difficult for a girl to do, you know… because we had cooties. And no matter my age, with each boy I would come home beaming with delight and proclaim to my mother “I’m going to marry this boy someday!”

My mother, who found these episodes amusing, would do what any encouraging mother would do- humor me. She would take out a piece of paper which bore the words:

I, Jordan Chance Bullington, in the name of true love hereby declare that one day I will marry and my official name will from then on be:

Jordan Willard
Jordan Lankford
Jordan Starbuck
Jordan Horne
Jordan O’neal

…you get the idea.

This piece of paper my mother kept, and still keeps in the bread box on our kitchen counter. From time to time she pulls it out for comic effect. My embarrassing young love affairs are both amusing to my friends and family, as well as evidence to support that I’m not qualified to give any sort of love advice. But I still wanted to know… exactly what is that thing that carries you from the butterflies and the “honeymoon” stage of a new relationship to one which is solid and lasting? So naturally, I went to my friends…

"The way you handle a first fight, like an adult."


"My situation is a little different, but my boyfriend and I are best friends. Always. It never changed when we started dating."

"A funny smell ;) Oh and you’re first big argument."

"I’ve got nothing"

"When the butterflies leave to tend to another flower, but come back out of nowhere to revisit you when you least expect it. Also, when you can pee in front of each other!"


"Trust! And always having fun!!!"

"Hell if I know"

"Never losing the love struck butterflies. That should always be with you. The nerves go away, but the want and need to be with that one person is what continues the butterflies."

"Him being mean, I love mean guys"

"The “L” bomb (love) -thanks for the clarification- and when you fall into a routine"

"I don’t think there really is an answer for that. Everyone is different. After 12 years I still get excited to see him and spend time with him."

And just for good measure, I went with the three people who’s insight I utilize on a daily basis:

Boyfriend- "Comfort ability and trust"

Roommate- "If I knew that answer, I would have a solid lasting relationship already." Moments later… "Communication! With it, a couple can overcome the hugest of complications. But without it, the smallest troubles can become debilitating."

And my Daddy- "Communication"

So there you have it. In synopsis, the trick to making your relationship last is purely individual. There is no right answer, and apparently there are no wrong answers. The web of a solid relationship is one which you ultimately spin yourself. If all is really fair in love and war, than its time we put aside the tedious rules and regulations to dating and get over the fairy tale movie ending we’re all dreaming of. Life, and love, is what you make it, care to embrace it?

Special thanks to my many friends for their insight. I love you all, my little therapists:)